By Chad Ingram
Published Dec. 17 2017
Algonquin Highlands Deputy Mayor and Ward 2 Councillor Liz Danielsen is set to become the deputy warden of Haliburton County.
Danielsen was the sole member of county council to express interest in the newly created position during a Dec. 14 council meeting.
Earlier in the year councillors discussed the creation of the position designed to assist the warden who is the head of county council. Councillors agreed that in recent years the warden position has evolved to entail more work including provincial-level advocacy activities through organizations such as the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus. While a job description for the deputy warden position is still to be drawn up by staff councillors agreed that the deputy warden position does not mean that whomever holds it is warden-in-waiting.
Danielsen was first elected to Algonquin Highlands council in 2010. Nearing the end of her second term she also sits on the board of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association.
“I believe I am ready” Danielsen told fellow members of council as she put her name forward. Danielsen will be sworn in as deputy warden at a January meeting. She will be paid an additional $1000 at the upper tier level for fulfilling the role and councillors also agreed to increase the annual remuneration for the warden position by $1000.
County council is comprised of the mayors and deputy mayors of each of Haliburton County’s four lower-tier municipalities. County councillors are compensated both at the lower-tier and upper-tier level. Remuneration for councillors at the lower-tier level varies by municipality by between about $14000 and $18500; for deputy mayors between about $17000 and $22000; and mayors between about $24000 and $27000.
At the upper-tier a base salary plus per diem and mileage payments add an additional $10000 to $13000 in compensation in most cases closer to $20000 for whomever is warden for the year. During last week’s meeting there was also a conversation about increasing compensation for all members of county council although the idea didn’t fly.
“I’ll start off I’m in the cheapest in the group” said Dysart et al Mayor Murray Fearrey who thought county councillors’ compensation was fine where it was.
Fearrey said remuneration was in line with similar communities such as Frontenac and Peterborough counties other places where being a municipal councillor is essentially considered a part-time role. “There’s no magic bullet for deciding what councillors are worth” Fearrey said.
Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt was in favour of remuneration increase across the board. “I think we need to” she said. Moffatt pointed out that some councillors contribute more than others and that how much time councillors dedicate to the role is really up to them.
“There can’t be any fairness across the board” she said.
“It’s difficult to give yourselves a raise” said Dysart et al Deputy Mayor Andrea Roberts.
“I honestly feel like I’m fairly compensated here” Roberts said referring to the county table. Roberts and other members of Dysart et al council have been advocating for an increase in council remuneration in that municipality. While it has the largest population councillors and the deputy mayor in Dysart are paid thousands of dollars less than their counterparts in the county’s other townships. The mayor’s remuneration is in line with that of other mayors.
Ultimately councillors decided to leave compensation for the bulk of county council where it is. Councillors also receive whatever yearly cost-of-living increase is given to staff members.